By: Sumir Sharma

India is a country which is known for its spirituality and morality. Scholars from different countries used to come to India to drink deep at the Fountain of morality. Heung Trang and Ibn Batuta wrote about the ethical values of the Indians . Even T.S.Eliot in one of his books wrote, if anybody wanted to imbibe ethical values, then he must go to India. But with the passage of time Indians lost their roots and today the moral values have become a thing of the past.

One of these dwindling values is 'Filial Gratitude' . Now what is this Filial Gratitude or should i say Filial Ingratitude? Every father and mother has some responsibilities towards their children i.e. to take care of their needs, to give them good education, to look after their upbringing etc. In the same way children also have certain responsibilities towardes their parents. Moreover,when parents grow old, it is the turn of the children to take care of their needs. But alas! we see around us parents being maltreated by their children. We see children showing apathy to the parents.

This practice of showing apathy to one`s parents has been an age old phenomenon. In the sixteenth century shakespeare wrote a fantastic tragedy play 'King Lear' in which King Lear gave every thing to his daughters Goneril and Regan because he had grown old. His clown known as 'Fool' didn`t approve of his decision and said to king "Thou Madest Thy daughters thy Mothers". He said this because he was of the opinion that once daughters acquired his property and palace, they would also start directing his life. His fear came true and King Lear was rendered homeless by his daughters. In the twentieth century Robert Frost wrote a beautiful realistic poem 'Provide Provide' in which he wrote

"Die Early And Avoid The Fate
If Predestined to die Late
Make up Your Mind
To Die In State"

These lines show the fear of the poet if a person unfortunately lives a longer life and he doesn`t have a bank balance then he may have to live at the mercy of his children. Writers and Poets of other generations also touched upon this emotional issue. As the literature reflects the social and psychological mindset of the people of a particular age so we can easily conclude that maltreatment of parents has been a universal and recurrent phenomenon and is beyond any time frame.

In the 80's a movie 'Avataar' starring Rajesh Khanna and Shabana Azmi was released which became a big hit. In the 21st century 'Bagbaan' starring Amitabh and Hema Malini was released which also became a big hit. Reason? People could easily identify with the movies. They see around them 'aged people' being maltreated by their children. One can witness so many such cases in the news papers. How shameful it is for us. Someone has rightly said that there are the times of tall buildings and short tempers, of refined talks and adulterated charecters and of big heads and small hearts.

It is a fact that life is a progression from attachment to detachment. In his childhood a child relishes the company of his parents, during youth his attention shifts towards his friends and after marriage they think only about their respective spouses and children. But this doesn't mean that we become completely oblivious of our parents. One can understand that when a child grows up he becomes pugnacious and starts arguing with his parents but that doesn't mean he starts crossing the barriers of decency. It is up to today's youth to decide what sort of treatment they expect from their children when they grow old and must start treating their parents in the same way, as the nature doesn't spare anybody.